How I went from teaching 4th grade to Customer Success… with Gong!

  • 2 September 2021
  • 3 replies
How I went from teaching 4th grade to Customer Success… with Gong!
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​​I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was in eleventh grade. I majored in education, completed my student teaching assignments and joined ‘Teach for America’ directly after college. Then, after four years in education, I decided to explore opportunities in sales. A wild shift in some ways, but there were more transferable skills than you’d think!


In every interview, I marketed my soft skills, while comparing selling content to fourth graders with selling software to CEOs. Amazingly, I convinced someone to take a chance on me. (So maybe I was cut out for sales after all!)


What I said in my interviews was true – I had all the soft skills I needed to excel in my new sales role. What I lacked was just about everything else: business acumen, product knowledge, even a basic understanding of a sales process. 


So how do you teach a highly motivated and hardworking, yet woefully inexperienced elementary school teacher to sell software? Enter an incredibly patient sales manager and Gong.


Here are five things that were invaluable during my career transition:

  1. Identifying my high-performing peers (across several teams) and listening to their calls: I listened to A LOT of best-practice calls and downloaded the Gong app so I could listen easily on the move.

  2. Using Gong’s transcription tool to copy the parts of my colleague’s pitches that I liked: I gathered them in a running Word doc and changed or added things on the daily until I had something that sounded more like me.

  3. Listening to my own calls and using Gong’s interaction stats to level up: My stats indicated that I should wait longer after my prospects finish speaking before I responded. It’s been a game changer.

  4. Understanding my target buyer and market: Having only ever worked in education, I needed to learn who our buyer was, what they cared about, and what their challenges were. Doing so meant I could better position our product and be seen as a trusted advisor.

  5. Learning everything I could about the competition: By listening to calls from competitive deals, I learned who the competition was, how to position our differentiating factors, and when to talk about the competition for the highest win rates. 


Gong helped me get up to speed faster and more efficiently than relying solely on my manager for feedback. I onboarded successfully, ramped quickly, and had 119% attainment in my last role as a Sales rep. Whether you’re new to sales or a seasoned veteran, I couldn’t recommend Gong more strongly!

3 replies

Userlevel 3

Soo good!!

Userlevel 2

Such an amazing story! Thanks for sharing!

Userlevel 4
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ELIZABETH, THIS IS INCREDIBLE. You are an incredible person and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from you!